A stronger insurance sector in AngolaMay 5, 2022
Fátima Monteiro, president of the executive council of BIC Seguros, talks to The Energy Year about the progress of Angola’s insurance sector in aligning its practices with international standards and the company’s involvement in large-scale energy projects. BIC Seguros is the insurance arm of the Angolan branch of Banco BIC.
What is your assessment of the impact the oil and gas upturn will have on Angola’s insurance sector and on the national economy as a whole?
The oil sector continues to be very relevant to the Angolan GDP, and therefore any fluctuation in this sector, regardless of the reasons, always has a significant impact on the economy. I believe it’s still too early to assess whether the recent rise in prices is structural or temporary, mainly for geopolitical reasons, but if it continues and marks the beginning of a cycle of rising prices, it will certainly be an important driver in the recovery of the country’s economy and will contribute to the increase of foreign investment, not only directly in the sector but in related activities.
How Angola’s insurance sector progressed on aligning its practices with international standards and strengthening ties with the international reinsurance market?
There is a general awareness that difficult times provide opportunities and create strong organisations that are resistant to adversity. These recent years of economic recession, together with limited access to foreign currency, ended up forcing insurers to adapt and grow organically, competing on costs and seeking to streamline processes, above all to capture the attention of the international reinsurance market, which is crucial for the Angolan sector in big risks.
These years have shown that the Angolan sector is robust, has been growing and has taken advantage of this development gap caused by the pandemic to assimilate and implement a set of improvements, especially in terms of internal control and compliance, that seek to bring the sector closer to international standards.
What are the main challenges and opportunities for companies participating in the recently created co-insurance pool?
I believe that the challenges and opportunities involve, above all, the learning that the complexity of this sector brings. We deal with multinationals with very refined, demanding processes, and these requirements help the sector to grow, not only by forcing operators to leave their comfort zone, but by bringing challenges that other sectors of the economy do not present.
What have been BIC Seguros’ main milestones since our last interview in early 2021?
BIC Seguros has maintained excellent growth, which made us all proud, not only for the numbers, but also for being supported by a strict underwriting policy and unparalleled handling of claims management. We believe that more and more customers perceive the differentiation offered by our team, especially in claims. We have been growing, expanding the range of partners and products, and we want to continue to make a positive difference, not only when collecting the premium, but above all throughout the entire relationship with customers.
What is the company’s involvement in large-scale energy projects and does it offer specialised insurance services to them?
We have experience in some large projects related to energy infrastructure. Our dimension, as well as the fact that we have a subscription team that is highly specialised in big risks, allows us to obtain synergies that make it easier for us to analyse and contract this type of coverage. Of course, the good relationship we have with the main international reinsurers also contributes to this, which is also, I believe, a very important factor to take into account in these policies.
What are the prospects ahead for local companies to gain more market share within these detailed exclusive services as listed by the National Oil, Gas and Biofuels Agency in the local content decree?
It is undoubtedly a great opportunity for local operators to expand their product offer to the oil sector. These are large, very specific customers that need a lot of attention but present a range of opportunities for scale for a local operator that is hardly seen in other sectors of the economy. As mentioned before, it also turns out to be an excellent opportunity, and a relevant reason, for local insurers to update themselves in terms of people, training and processes.
What is BIC Seguros’ strategy to further develop the now-exclusive insurance services for oil operations, insurance mediation, property insurance service, motor insurance and life insurance?
First of all, it is necessary to analyse the most pressing needs of the operators present in Angola so that a potential offer can actually create value for both parties, and we are actively working on this first point. The following points are, in the popular saying, the soul of the business and are secret, but we will seek to create an unexpected and unique impact on this sector.